Monday, 24 August 2020

GRX Taneco face challenging weekend in Holjes.

PHOTO CREDIT: FIA World RX Media
The highly anticipated 2020 FIA World Rallycross Championship finally got underway in Höljes-Sweden over the weekend. An event that was 8 months in the making after a delay due to the Coronavirus pandemic. 

After a strong 2019 campaign, GRX Taneco were the team to beat on paper, but the season opener(s) in Sweden proved to be a real challenge for the GRX Taneco drivers Niclas Grönholm, Timur Timerzyanov, and Krisztián Szabó (GRX SET).

The first round at Höljes proved to be a real challenge for every team and driver in the paddock with weather conditions constantly changing. Grönholm progressed to the finals, whilst teammate Timerzyanov failed to make the cut. Krisztián Szabó in his GRX SET Hyundai also failed to get beyond the semi-finals. 

Just ahead of the final, the heavens opened above the Höljes track, which meant that team mechanics were rushing to make the neccessary tyre and set-up changes. Unfortunately, the GRX were unable to change the set-up on Grönholm's car. 

The Finn stalled at the start of the final, meaning he was unable to reach the podium and would finish in fourth-place on the day. 

As wished by most of the Championship drivers, Sunday at Höljes stayed dry and partly cloudly, making the racing conditions stable and equal for everyone. Unfortunately, the weather conditions didn’t bring any luck to the GRX Taneco drivers.

Throughout the three Qualifying heats and the Semi-final, Niclas was stuck in traffic and unable to show his true pace.

“We just couldn’t get the starts right, even though I had a decent reaction time and that impacted the overall result on track," Grönholm said. "It’s not clear yet, why it was like this, but we have just a few days to sort it out before the next round."

"Above all that we were just unlucky at times. We have made a step forward with the car overnight and it feels much better than yesterday, but there are still some things I would like to work on."

"Next week we will race in Finland and I want to perform there, as that will be my home race," he adds.

Timur Timerzyanov had decent pace in the first two Qualifying sessions, but struggled to climb up the standings and set eighth fastest time in both sessions. In Q3, the Russian suffered a driveshaft issue and finished last. Despite that, he was able to secure a spot in the Semi-final, where he was fighting for the place in the Final, but was not able to make it and finished in P4.

"The Semi-final was one of the most action-packed in my career with door-to-door racing and “elbows out” attitude. Unfortunately, it was not enough and I was still unable to make it to the Final," he said. 

"I am happy that finally this season has started, but obviously, we also have some things that we need to analyze and improve for the oncoming race at Kouvola – a track that has been out of the Championship for several years."

Racing under the banner GRX SET, Krisztián Szabó steadily improved from Q1 to Q3  finishing in P10, P7, and P6 that allowed him to score the highest intermediate result amongst the Hyundai drivers. 

The Hungarian shared the semi-final with Timerzyanov and crossed the finish line ahead of him, but was served a 5-second penalty for breaching the track limits, he dropped to fifth-place.

"I feel very satisfied with my weekend at Holjes," Szabó said. "I did my best to adapt to the car, I was able to keep a steady pace and fight for positions. For sure a Final would have been nice, but I take it step by step, I learn from Timur and Niclas and the experienced team around me."

Whlie FIA World Rallycross Championship heads to Finland for round 3 and 4 of the season, GRX Taneco have confirmed that Szabó will return for the third doubleheader in Riga, Latvia in September.

Written By - Junaid Samodien

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